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Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology

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    After putting Christopher Walken in a Super Bowl commercial for the Optima sedan last year, Kia is turning to another celebrity, Melissa McCarthy, to hype its Niro hybrid crossover on this year's game.

    The actress and comedian, 46, provides the voiceover for two 15-second spots breaking this week, titled "Many Names" and "Need/Want." She will appear on camera in the :60 on Super Bowl LI, which is happening Feb. 5.

    The tagline is, "A smarter kind of crossover." 

    The Niro, which is Kia's latest hybrid, offers the "no-compromise combination of driving enjoyment, eye-catching design, functional utility and hybrid efficiency," according to the automaker.

    See the two :15s here:

    The Nero recently set a Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption while driving across the U.S. from coast to coast.

    "The Niro blends great looks, real-world utility and outstanding fuel economy together in a way that consumers haven't seen before, and these initial marketing elements focus on the fact that there's now 'a smarter kind of crossover' out there for consumers to discover," Michael Sprague, COO of Kia Motors America, said in a statement.

    "We've got a fantastic story to tell about the Niro's uniquely alluring yet practical package, and the incredibly talented Melissa McCarthy is the perfect partner to help us do it."

    The :60 on Super Bowl LI will be Kia's eighth consecutive appearance on the game. 

    For more Super Bowl LI news, check out Adweek's Super Bowl Ad Tracker, an up-to-date list of the brands running Super Bowl spots and the agencies involved in creating them.

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    It's not often that Medusa shows up in advertising, much less accompanied by a chest-thumping minotaur, a metallic mermaid, an arrow-shooting centaur and a galloping Pegasus. So, this new U.K. spot for Mitsubishi is a real mythological blowout—all in service of a hot-selling SUV called the Outlander PHEV.

    It may look like the brand's longtime ad agency, Golley Slater, has taken a page from American Horror Story or a Guillermo del Toro flick for the gorgeously shot 60-second ad.

    Its director, British filmmaker Bugsy Riverbank-Steel of Moxie Pictures, called the script "audacious" and seemed a little surprised, according to a statement, "to have been encouraged to make something that on paper might look a little barmy!" (Barmy = crazy in Brit-speak.)

    The goal, according to the agency, was to cement Mitsubishi's place as the leader in the category—tagline: "Where some follow, others lead"—though using a bunch of hybrid creatures to sell a plug-in hybrid car would've made perfect sense anyway.

    There's no denying the beauty of the ad, with its burned-out forest setting, haunting soundtrack and exotic characters. It's part of a larger campaign that includes print, digital and social media, with the powerful ancient beasts gathering around and giving props to the car.

    Since the vehicle's intro in 2014, it's sold more than 26,500 units, says Golley Slater, making it the fastest-selling car in the U.K. for three years in a row and the top-selling hybrid in the highly competitive segment.

    "It's rare these days for a client to go out on a limb and run with an ambitious idea," Riverbank-Steel says, "but on this occasion both the client and agency were brave enough to push it right to the limit."

    Ad trivia: Snickers famously used Medusa a few years ago as a spokesthing for its ongoing "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign on the back cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. 

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    What happens when a group of heavily tattooed thugs, a precocious snow-white cat and a team of special ops assassins appear in the same ad? Don't fret—the feline emerges unscathed. The drug dealers? Not so much.

    Ubisoft continues its full-scale marketing assault for the hotly anticipated title Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands with a 90-second mini-movie from action maven John McTiernan, the filmmaker behind Die Hard, Predator and The Hunt for Red October.

    The sleek and muscular live-action commercial, with a touch of whimsy, centers on a righteous execution that would be at home in any blockbuster flick. It also shows off a number of McTiernan trademarks—visceral style, clever reveals and darkly funny flourishes.

    The ad, called "The Red Dot," is said to be McTiernan's first produced film in 14 years following a string of legal troubles that eventually landed him in jail for a year. 

    The spot follows a curious cat as it chases a laser pointer around a room where scary-looking dudes are playing cards. The military team outside—the tagline reminds us: "Some are soldiers, we are ghosts"—take aim and fire with deadly precision, to the strains of a Spanish-language cover version of "Tonight I Fell in Love" that serves as the oddly playful soundtrack.

    Ubisoft execs, who described the game as their "largest action adventure ever" when they previewed the latest in the hit franchise at E3 last summer, have already used some groundbreaking marketing for the title, including ads targeted at specific types of gamers on Facebook.

    Another piece, with A-list Hollywood talent, is coming soon. Roberto Orci (Star Trek) and Avi Youabian (The Walking Dead) worked on the upcoming 30-minute live-action promo video, dubbed "War Within the Cartel."

    The branded content aims to give some backstory about the Santa Blanca drug cartel in Bolivia and the world that the heroes are invading. The video comes via a partnership with Amazon and Legion of Creatives with distribution on Ubisoft's Twitch channel on Feb. 16 and then Amazon Prime Video.

    Ghost Recon: Wildlands launches in March for Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

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    We love an ad with some mystery and a lick of runaway glamour. This one's got it in spades, topped with vintage swing from the Zombies' "She's Not There." 

    "Never Too Wanted," which came out a couple of days ago, stars a furtive brunette driving in the dark. It brings to mind Woman on the Run, a '50s noir crime film—but if you need a more established reference, we'd use Psycho. 

    Perhaps as a tribute to Psycho's own Janet Leigh, our lady pulls up to a diner called Janet's and heads straight for the bathroom, tracked by side-eye from a suspicious waitress. Once alone, she does a lot more than take off her kid leather gloves. 

    See the rest, unspoiled: 

    That's right. It's an ad for Kohler's strangely sexy Composed Faucet Collection!

    There's nothing that unconventional about the spot itself, whose on-the-run chic brings lone wolf hits like Gone Girl to mind. But it's one way Kohler's upped the ad game for an everyday fixture. 

    We all have a faucet (or two or three), which makes it basic. We'd all like to have a nice one that works well, but it's probably not enough of a priority to go out of your way for. 

    And you definitely don't covet sinkware. (Well, some people do.)

    A few years ago, Kohler named DDB Chicago as its new creative agency. Since then, the output has been agreeably refreshing. Last year it released "Never TOO Next," an equally slick ad that followed androids at a housewarming party to advertise a very smart toilet.

    We can't wait to see what stories Kohler and DDB appropriate next ... or what they'll use them for.

    Client: Kohler
    Sr. Vice President, Global Brand Management: Elizabeth Brady
    Communications Director: Jamie Van Dixhorn
    VP, Executive Creative Director: David Crawford

    Agency: DDB Chicago
    Chief Creative Officer: John Maxham
    Executive Creative Director: Jean Batthany
    Group Creative Director: Nathan Monteith
    Associate Creative Director (Art Director): Madeline DeWree
    Associate Creative Director (Copywriter): Tyler Booker
    Chief Strategy Officer: Jack Perone
    Chief Production Officer: Diane Jackson
    Executive Producer: Debora den Iseger
    Group Business Director: Jenn Nolden
    Account Supervisor: Jacqueline Hines
    Account Manager: Kirby Summers
    Production Manager: Scott Terry
    Music Production Manager: Linda Bres

    Production Company: Biscuit
    Director: Isaiah Seret
    DP: Masanobu Takayanagi
    Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
    Executive Producer: Rick Jarjoura
    Head Of Production: Mercedes Allen/Rachel Glaub
    Producer: Karen O'Brien

    Editorial: Whitehouse
    Editor: Matthew Wood
    Assistant editor: Luke Sloma
    Executive Producer: Kristin Branstetter
    Producer: Laurel Connolly

    VFX: Jamm Visual
    VFX Supervisor/Lead Compositor - Jake Montgomery
    VFX Supervisor/ CG Lead - Andy Boyd
    CG Lead-  Zachary DiMaria
    Flame Artist - Patrick Munoz
    CG Artist - Kristen Eggleston
    CG Artist - Nha Ca Chau
    CG Modelling – Hayley O'Neill
    Matte Painting – Ram Bhat
    CG Tracking - Peregrine McCafferty
    CG Tracking - Amelie Guyot
    Producer - Ashley Greyson
    Executive Producer - Asher Edwards

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole
    Executive Producer: Clare Movshon

    Music House:
    Chances With Wolves: Kenan Juska

    Audio Post: The Studio, Chicago
    Sound engineer(s): Nicholas Papaleo
    Sound assistant: Cameron Aper
    Audio Post Producer: Stacey Simcik 

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    For the last six months, Mozilla has been working on a brand identity upgrade, and it's kept a running log of this process. But it also took it one step further, releasing open-source guidelines for anyone who wanted to jump in and help compose a new logo and visual cues. 

    "Rather than conduct a brand refresh behind closed doors, we just thought maybe there's a better or different way to do this," Mozilla creative director Tim Murray said in August. 

    The results were slated to be presented this month ... and it's surprisingly on schedule.

    Here's the final result:

    In the short life of the social 'net, there's a pretty robust history of brands that have tried "open sourcing" parts or all of their user-facing bits. Many of these brands have (not shockingly) been agencies. 

    In 2007, Nonesense released an open brief for its website. And in perhaps one of the least happy lessons in this approach, Modernista! in 2008 transformed its website into a kind of social frame that just pulled data from other places, like Wikipedia and Twitter. 

    Given that the internet's favorite preoccupation is trolling, this didn't go well. A year later, Skittles copied the model, with the same dire results. 

    Things often go wrong when you ask people to help you out, in part because it's usually a lazy way to source creative intellectual property. Notably, Sainbury's asked artists to help "refurbish" its canteen last year—for free!—so artists asked it for free food.

    Mozilla was careful in explaining it wasn't going to make the same mistake. In a section that's actually marked"Wait, are you asking designers to work on spec?," the brand explained:

    No. What we're seeking is input on work that's in process. We welcome your feedback in a form that suits you best, be it words, napkin sketches, or Morse Code. We simply want to incorporate as many perspectives and voices into this open design process as possible. We don't take any single contribution lightly. We hope you'll agree that by helping Mozilla communicate its purpose better through design, you'll be helping improve the future Internet.

    What this means is, Mozilla published iterations of its design process, asked the public to troubleshoot them (basically using the negative aspects of "openness" in a positive, controlled way), and then took that feedback into account. 

    The results are laid out neatly here, but below you'll find a breakdown.

    The Logo

    Murray calls the logo a "nod to URL language [that] reinforces that the Internet is at the heart of Mozilla. We are committed to the original intent of the link as the beginning of an unfiltered, unmediated experience into the rich content of the Internet."

    The original "contemporary slab serif font" used here is called Zilla and is free for anyone to use. (We have yet to find where we can download it, but that's probably coming.) It was created by Typotheque in the Netherlands, which was also the first type foundry to release web-based fonts.

    "We chose to partner with Peter Bilak from Typotheque because of their deep knowledge of localization of fonts, and our commitment to having a font that includes languages beyond English," Murray adds. 

    The brand also took guidance from Anton Koovit and FontSmith.

    Color Palette

    The color palette is inspired by the highlight colors used in Firefox and other Mozilla browsers. "Color flows into our logo and changes according to the context in which the logo is used," says Murray.

    The style guide is still a work in progress, with color pairings and intensities yet to be defined.

    Language and Architecture


    The core Mozilla messages, as well as program, event and team names, will be written and represented below and to the right of the logo. "It will now be easier to know that something is 'from' Mozilla and understand how our global initiatives connect and reinforce one another," says Murray.

    In keeping with openness, this system also makes it easy for volunteer communities to choose colors and imagery unique to their identities, while making it clear that they are part of the overall Mozilla community.

    Imagery Online and Out in the Wild


    Imagery evolves and reflects the internet's diversity, so Mozilla wanted to find a way to incorporate its ever-changing nature into its identity coherently. 

    "Dynamic imagery allows the identity of Mozilla to evolve with the Internet itself, always fresh and new. Static applications of our identity system include multiple, layered images as if taken as a still frame within a moving digital experience," Murray writes.

    Here's how this plays out online:

    In an office setting:

    And even on humans!

    That about covers it. The new identity will roll out in phases, and Mozilla is still taking feedback. (You can share some in the comments section of this post.)

    By and large, it's an identity that matches the brand—and its philosophy of an open web—while remaining in step with a space and culture in states of constant disruption. The attention and planning that went into incorporating external input, without losing control and falling victim to social schadenfreude, are also admirable. 

    We hope SETI takes cues from this if it ever decides to step away from that whole question-mark S thing it has going on.

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    Justin Timberlake will join the parade of celebrities in this year's Super Bowl commercial breaks, courtesy of Bai Brands, the beverage company that counts the pop star as an investor and "chief flavor officer."

    The 30-second spot was developed by Bai's in-house creative team, led by chief creative officer Chad Portas, the company said Thursday. It follows a 30-second spot called "Horse Whisperer" that aired regionally during last year's Super Bowl.

    "When we saw the impact that last year's commercial had on our brand awareness and engagement, we knew we had to do something again, but on a national stage," Ben Weiss, founder and CEO of Bai, said in a statement.

    Weiss said Timberlake, 35, "played an integral role" in the development of the commercial. "Justin has been working closely with our team on several new projects and we are excited to see them all come to life in 2017. This is just the beginning," Weiss said.

    Media placement for the Super Bowl spot was done by agency Maxus, who also handled Bai's spot for last year's game.

    Bai Brands makes of Bai, Bai Bubbles and Bai Antiwater beverages, which claim to use healthier ingredients than many beverage companies while maintaining great flavor.

    "I've been a fan of Bai for a long time, and when I met Ben and his team, it became clear that I should be involved with this brand," Timberlake said in October when he signed on. "As a father and someone who is cautious about what my family and I consume, I love what Bai stands for. This partnership was created from a shared desire to help people put better ingredients in their bodies without sacrificing taste."

    Timberlake appeared in a Super Bowl ad for Pepsi in 2008. He was also involved in the notorious "wardrobe malfunction" incident with Janet Jackson during the halftime show of the 2004 Super Bowl. 

    Below, check out last year's "Horse Whisperer" spot from Bai. 

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    For its new, wildly impressionistic ad, Adidas Originals turned to two odd-couple musical icons who have always done things their way: Frank Sinatra and Snoop Dogg. 

    The larger Adidas brand's most recent ad targeted Chinese athletes looking to express their own personal style. But the new "Original Is Never Finished" campaign from Originals global lead agency Johannes Leonardo takes a different tack by focusing on those who have never wavered from their roots. 

    In addition to Snoop, the spot features pop stars Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Stormzy and Mabel, as well as Los Angeles Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram, former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and more. 

    It's quite a bit to take in for a spot that channels everything from classic hip-hop to the Italian Renaissance. 

    "Everything we do for Adidas Originals is a work in progress, as true creativity is never finished," says Alegra O'Hare, vp of global communications for the Originals and Core brands. "We are constantly challenging ourselves and breaking down the boundaries that limit imagination; we hope to inspire all creators to do the same." 

    Recent Originals campaigns have played on the idea of the past informing the present and future. Last year, the brand called on 10 artists to create visual representations of what the future might look like and produced an influencer-driven campaign best described as "dystopian."

    JL creative director Wes Phelan says the agency has spent its three-year partnership with Originals establishing and returning to the brand's history in an effort to remove "the shackles that hold back creativity." 

    "Each of the scenes are, in a way, a reference to a moment of cultural relevance," he says, describing the "Birth of Venus" scene as "the digital wasteland—a symbol of the pace at which we are going through modern technologies."

    This spot marks the launch of a larger campaign that will roll out across all of 2017. JL and Adidas Originals plan to continue revisiting and refreshing the same themes throughout, and Phelan says the current ad is "part of a bigger story we've been building toward."

    Regarding the Snoop cameo, Phelan says, "He has stayed true to himself and always adds a touch of Snoop Dogg to everything he touches, which makes him an original. The ultimate point is, I can do anything I need to do." 


    Song: Remix of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra recreated by Human
    Snoop Dogg in "Doggystyle"
    Stormzy in "Trap Syrup"
    Mabel in "Tunnel"
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Brandon Ingram in "Raining Basketballs"
    Dej Loaf in "Inflated"
    Dev Hynes in "Mirrors"
    Gonz and Lucas Puig in "Lucas & The Gonz"
    Petra Collins in "The Birth of Venus"

    Client: Adidas Originals
    General Manager: Arthur Hoeld
    Global Vice President, Brand Communications: Alegra O'Hare
    Global Director of Communications, Brand Marketing: Jenny Pham
    Senior Manager Communications: Edi Borrelli
    Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing Operations and Creative Shoot Production: John van Tuyll
    Shoot and Production Manager: Justin Townsend

    Agency: Johannes Leonardo
    Chief Creative Officers: Jan Jacobs, Leo Premutico
    Creative Director, Partner: Ferdinando Verderi
    Creative Directors: Wesley Phelan, Matthew Edwards
    Copywriter: Jeph Burton
    Art Director: Hunter Hampton
    Head of Integrated Production: Dana May
    Executive Producer: Maria Perez
    Senior Producers (Film): Tina Diep, Stine Moisen
    Producer (Online Content): Doug Moffitt
    Production Coordinator (Film, Online Content): Alexandra Olivo
    Group Account Director: Sam McCallum
    Account Director: Dom Dalton
    Account Supervisor: Gulru Soylu
    Head of Strategy: Mark Aronson
    Strategist: Miné Cakmak
    Senior Business Affairs Manager: Ann Marie Turbitt

    Production Company: RSA Films
    Director: Terence Neale
    Executive Producers: Jules Daly, Paul Kawasaki
    Producer: Rozanne Rocha-Gray
    Director of Photography: Alexis Zabe

    Production Company: Cape Town Egg Films
    Executive Producer: Colin Howard
    Producer: Rozanne Rocha-Gray

    Editorial: Exile
    Lead Editor: Shane Reid
    Editors: Jay McConville, Travis Moore
    Executive Producers: Sasha Hirschfeld, Carol Lynn Weaver
    Head of Production: Melanie Gagliano

    Visual Effects: Blacksmith
    Visual Effects Supervisor, 2-D Lead: Iwan Zwarts
    2-D Compositors: Daniel Morris, Liz Lyons
    Rotoscoping: Trace VFX
    3-D Lead Artist: Tom Bussell
    3-D Artist: Ylli Orana
    Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
    Producer: Megan Sweet

    Color: Company 3
    Colorist: Tom Poole
    Producer: Clare Movshon

    Music: "My Way"
    Writers: Claude Francois, Jacques Revaux, Gilles Thibaut, Paul Anka
    Publisher: BMG
    Master: Frank Sinatra, Universal Music Enterprise

    Adidas Global Music Manager: Daniel Cross

    Music: "Human Remix"
    Creative Lead, Music Director: Morgan Visconti
    Creative Lead, Sound Design: Michael Jurasits
    Executive Producer: James Dean Wells
    Composer, Arranger: James Leibow

    Sound Design: Q Department
    Executive Producer: Zack Rice
    Producer: Guin Frehling

    Sound Mix: Sonic Union
    Sound Engineer: Steve Rosen
    Executive Producer: Justine Cortale
    Producer: Patrick Sullivan

    Videographer (Cape Town): Deon van Zyl
    Videographer (Los Angeles): Anton du Preez

    Photographers: Hayden Phipps, Cape Town; Dan Regan and Atiba Jefferson, Los Angeles

    Editors: Sean Dunn, Misha Spivack

    0 0

    If you're the type of guy who drives your friends nuts by compulsively obsessing over minor details at lunch, then McDonald's has a deep existential dilemma for you. 

    In Canada, the fast-food chain is temporarily adding the Big Mac Bacon—a Big Mac, with bacon on it—to its menu, the first change to the sandwich in that country in 50 years. An ad from Cosette puts the new product to the pedant test, which by its very nature requires that anything that can be argued, must be argued. 

    Two men sit in a McD's. One takes a bit of his Big Mac Bacon, and declares "Mmmm, now that's a Big Mac." Naturally, his tight-ass buddy takes umbrage, and an absurd debate ensues over whether a few bits of crispy cured pig fat render the sandwich a completely different entity. It's clearly a dilemma that would be best solved by spending less time talking, and more time shutting up and eating.

    There's a stoner streak to the humor—a couple of dudes getting myopic about the philosophy of their munchies to the point of willfully ignoring its insignificance, and insistently failing to realize that they are, in fact, both right. But the staging is broad enough that it could also just be garden-variety goofiness—a couple of annoying personalities who (as people so rarely can) just can't let it go, cleverly putting the whole scene on the dog-whistle side of a bong-rip trope.

    Billboards will run concurrently with the TV spot, posing very significant questions like "Are pants cuffed above the knee still pants?" (Another betrays itself as a twist on the old tree-falls-in-the-forest cliché, with the headline, "If you're in an empty room, is it still empty?")

    The campaign, which launched Tuesday and will run through Feb. 20 in English and French, also includes social posts and YouTube pre-roll. McD's and Cosette are eager for audiences to join the debate with the hashtags #NotABigMac and #StillABigMac. (Call it a sand-which.)

    While it's all highly contrived to puff up the brand, and beef-patty academics may never be able to agree on what's what, one thing is clear: It's rare for a burger, or just about anything, to be made worse by putting bacon on it.

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    Last year, Middle Eastern clothing chain Centrepoint launched what surely ranks as the most existential retail campaign of all time. In "Sabotage," a charmingly fatalistic black-and-white spot from Impact BBDO Dubai, the brand stranded a pouting, nattily attired hero on some railroad tracks with a train fast approaching.

    Now, the marketer hits an even more harrowing note with a stylish monochrome commercial called "Lies." It uses a fiendishly fiery visual metaphor to remind us that life is full of nasty—often deadly—surprises that can come at us from anywhere, at any time, filling our day with heartache and despair.

    At such times, however, Centrepoint has got you covered. Literally. In stylish clothes. After all, when disaster falls from the sky, looking good may be all anyone has left.

    Talk about a crushing experience. Look out below!

    "We wanted a hero element that was both quirky yet at the same time unexpected," agency executive creative director Fadi Yaish tells AdFreak. "Having a piano was cool. A falling piano was better. But having a burning piano falling we felt would be quite something."

    As you might imagine, the creative team didn't really set an upright ablaze and hurl it to the pavement below.

    "While it would have been a dream to actually throw a burning piano off the top of a building, we couldn't technically for various reasons," Yaish says. "The piano had to be done in CGI. And as much as it might seem easy to create it, the fact is it took two months to craft and to get it integrated" with the rest of the action.

    Along with the ignited imagery, Bruce Barker's mockingly tough-poetic voiceover really sells the scenario. "They say your life is in your hands," he begins, overwrought irony falling like bits of gravel with each inflection. "They lie. Life isn't some trained pet that will jump and roll to your fancies. Au contraire, my friend. What it is, is a flu on the first day of your vacation. Nature's call when you're getting a manicure. Or three more red lights when you're already late. And you—you are but a mere puppet dancing to the tunes of life's orchestra."

    Sure, existence always gets the better of us. Still, if we can pick up a pair of slimming slacks on sale, maybe we can find the strength to soldier on.

    As it happens, while shooting "Lies," the creative team witnessed an example of life's knack for reducing happy moments to crap.

    "A passing couple got into an argument for some reason," Yaish recalls. "She left the guy all embarrassed. And the worst bit: He had roses, which I am assuming were for her. Anyway, he was pissed and just flung the roses into the nearest trash can. And those are the roses that you see in the film."

    Campaign Title: Silver Lining
    Title Film: Lies
    Client: Centrepoint

    Executive Creative Director: Fadi Yaish
    Associate Creative Director: Alok Mohan
    TV Producer: Rajaa Chami

    Production House: Good People
    Director: Maged Nasser
    Executive Producers: Michel Abou Zeid & Cynthia Chammas
    DOP: Pierre Mouarkesh

    Post Production Offline and Grading: Amr Rabee and Karim Mira – Lizard VFX Shop, Cairo
    Post Production Online: Serena, Dubai
    Post Production CGI: Digital District, Paris
    VO: Eardrum, Australia Founding Creative Director: Ralph Van Dijk
    Music and Sound Design: Goldstein, UK

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    It's hard to make weight loss testimonials feel like anything other than hackneyed or seedy, preying upon the audience's insecurities to shame them into looking a certain way.

    But a new six-minute documentary-style ad from Weight Watchers in the U.K. and filmmaker Gary Tarn manages to render the genre into something more beautiful and intimate, through a mix of gorgeous camera work and a focus on why people put on pounds in the first place—and naturally, what inspired them to get back in shape.

    Anabel Bonner started stress-eating as a child when her parents got divorced. As a young bride preparing for her wedding, she decided to pursue a particular aesthetic—fitting into the kind of dress she wanted became a guiding star for her weight loss program.

    Caroline Kulemeka found herself gaining pounds after eating junk food at her desk, and, unhappy with the scenario, used it to discover a love of running.

    Nigel Johnson, on a trip to Disney World, couldn't fit into the restraints on his favorite ride, setting him on a course of action that saw him lose a stunning 140 pounds, and found a much different man looking back in the (gym) mirror.

    Dee Edgar got swept up in the demands of raising a family, but with some nudging from her own mother (the kind of thing that could really go both ways), lost the weight again.

    None of those examples might seem particularly novel. The ad still deals in clichés, as life sometimes does. But Tarn, the force behind 2005's Black Sun, succeeds in making the stories all seem both personal, and credible.

    That's important because, despite the brand's clear agenda, its opportunity also lies in empowering viewers to believe they have control over their own bodies, and might be able to change their habits to ultimately feel better about themselves. It's effective because it's dramatic—larger than life—but also actually useful. Someone in the audience might realize that he or she should seek a clear goal (like Anabel's wedding dress) or explore new forms of exercise (like Caroline's running) to see what clicks. These aren't just before-and-after photos; they're real, relatable people living complicated lives that sometimes put them through the wringer.

    To be fair, the result is still plenty reductive. The approaches Weight Watchers lays out here won't necessarily work the same for everyone. It's easer for some people to gain and lose weight than others. And what it means to be healthy, including self-esteem, isn't the same across different types of bodies.

    In other words, by advertising around conventional notions of beauty in the first place, Weight Watchers can't help but be predatory, to some degree. But at least it's trying to be something more, too.

    Client: Weight Watchers
    Director and Composer: Gary Tarn
    Production Agency: The Academy PR
    Exposure: Online, PR

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    Mobile video game company Top Games USA Inc. has bought a 30-second ad in Super Bowl LI.

    The Menlo Park-based group has produced a series of smartphone games in recent years, most prominently Evony: The King's Return.

    Top Games has so far revealed very little about the ad itself, except that it will promote the same game and that it will star "a variety [of] celebrities whose appearance will bring a cinematic quality to the work and elevate how mobile games are marketed."

    "The Big Game is the ultimate test of today's warriors, so it is a fitting place for us to reintroduce our free-to-play strategy game to the world," said CEO Lu Lu in a statement. "Having such spectacular talent literally leading the charge will help drive interest in our new title."

    Independent San Francisco agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners will handle creative on the effort after winning the business in a recent review.

    This will not be BSSP's first trip to the Big Game: It created last year's #DefyLabels MINI spot and collaborated with Publicis Seattle on a 2014 T-Mobile ad starring former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow. Nor will it be the first U.S. ad campaign for Top Games, which ran a self-produced spot promoting Evony: The King's Return last year.

    The estimated price for a 30-second Super Bowl LI ad buy is more than $5 million.

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    Imagine a road without rules—one where you can drive like a madman, cut people off at will, and stop wherever you want for an impromptu selfie.

    That might sound either awesome or awful. Luckily, none of us has to experience it in real life ... or do we? This riotous spot on the subject veers off into a message you might not see coming:

    Have you watched it yet? Ready for spoilers? OK, good, here we go.

    This is actually an ad for Wed'ze ski helmets, brought to you by sports retailer Decathlon and French agency Rosapark. The tagline is, simply, "Wear a helmet."

    The spot works because it doesn't so much preach as revel in the pleasure of the weird universe its creators have made, and we're carried right along, pretty much willing to roll with anything that comes along.

    Of course, it helps that it's ski season, and people think more about the merry that awaits (the whistling wind! And fondue!) than about the accidents they could have. 

    A 2015 IFOP study found that two-thirds of skiers fail to wear helmets. It's not that they don't know they should, either—97 percent of kids 10 and under wear one, so what we're facing here is more of a cycling situation: People recognize the need, but just don't want to be bothered.

    That's more than a bit silly, given that the helmet is probably the least expensive of all the gear you'll be buying or renting, would probably keep your head warm and isn't more dorky than everything else you have on.

    So just wear the damn helmet. And save the selfies for the lodge.

    Directed by David Bertram of Standard Films, :20 and :30 versions of the ad will air internationally from starting today. This longer version will be shared via social media.


    BRAND : Decathlon

    AGENCY : Rosapark
    Co-founder: Jean-Patrick Chiquiar
    Co-founders/CCOs: Gilles Fichteberg et Jean-François Sacco
    Copywriter: Nicolas Gadesaude
    Art Director: Julien Saurin
    Brand Director: Victor Faubert
    Brand Manager: Adélaïde Destaillats
    Agency TV Producer: Adélaïde Samani

    PRODUCTION: Standard Films
    Director: David Bertram
    Production Director Domitille Laurens

    Sound: Les Kouz

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    Brands that have weighed in on Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as the U.S. president have mostly tiptoed around the issue with cryptic or broad messaging. But not Al Rifai, a Lebanese nut brand, whose front page ad on Saturday in The Daily Star newspaper is nothing if not frank.

    "The world has gone nuts," says the headline, above a product shot and below the paper's coverage of Trump's big day—and the conflicting reactions to it.

    The agency behind the ad, République in Beirut, tells AdFreak that a photo of the front page has gone viral in the Middle East, with more than 100,000 shares through Saturday afternoon. Still, agency founder Fadi Mroue tells us it wasn't an easy decision to run the ad.

    "Al Rifai is a brand that is generally not afraid to take risks, but were cautious to address something as political as this," he says. "They went ahead with it because it they felt this was the general sentiment in the region." 

    Mroue says the biggest hurdle was getting the newspaper to run it. "But as print advertising is struggling in the region, this was our way of saying it's not dead just yet," he says.

    Sharing the ad, Mroue says, is a way for people in Lebanon to communicate how they feel about a Trump presidency. "The shares are not only coming from the general public but by politicians and reporters as well," he adds. 

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    TurboTax has been embracing celebrities in a big way this year, rolling out ads with everyone from Kathy Bates to DJ Khaled. But for the upcoming Super Bowl, the brand is really pulling out the big guns—Humpty Dumpty himself.

    The notorious nursery-rhyme egg will star in three spots, including a 45-second spot on Super Bowl LI in two weeks' time. The first spot, a teaser of sorts, broke Sunday night during the AFC Championship Game, and features Humpty being attended to after his fall. 

    Turns out he was using TurboTax up on that wall. (Don't try this at home.)

    The new campaign, from Wieden + Kennedy Portland, marks TurboTax's fourth consecutive year on the Super Bowl. The three-spot Humpty series includes "Humpty Fall" (directed by Ivan Zachariáš), the Super Bowl spot, and a third spot after the Super Bowl.

    "We're excited to once again be part of some of television's biggest live events at a time when taxes are top of mind for millions of Americans," said Greg Johnson, svp of marketing for Intuit TurboTax. "The Big Game and the Grammys give us unique opportunities to demonstrate—in an entertaining and memorable way—that with TurboTax, there's expert help, on demand in the palm of your hand."

    The marketer has been running a campaign lately themed "Relax, there's TurboTax," playing up consumer control by highlighting in-product access to a live, one-way video connection to a TurboTax expert or credentialed CPA or enrolled agent to get real-time, personalized answers.

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    Mattel has had a lot of success modernizing the perception of Barbie over the past few years, by focusing on her power to help girls imagine a powerful and fulfilling future for themselves. Now, the brand is quietly subverting gender roles, too, in a new campaign that shows fathers playing Barbie with their girls.

    The "Dads Who Play Barbie" campaign, from BBDO San Francisco, kicked off this weekend during the NFL playoffs with a 30-second spot, "Doctor," in which a self-described "typical man's man" admits his Sunday afternoon ritual of watching football is now often interrupted by Barbie time.

    For which, he says, he couldn't be happier. "You would do anything, anything to make her happy," he tells the camera, in between unscripted clips of him playing Barbie with his girl in a high-pitched voice.

    There are two other 30-second executions, along with a 90-second anthem film of sorts, which you can watch here:

    Kristina Duncan, vp of global marketing communications at Barbie, tells AdFreak that the campaign features six real dads and their young daughters.

    "We looked for families that consumers could not only relate to in one way or another, but that had a true and honest connection between them," she says. "These play moments were completely unscripted, so throughout the campaign you will see imaginations run wild, genuinely funny moments, and of course the sweet tender connections between these dads and their daughters."

    Matt Miller, executive creative director at BBDO San Francisco, says the work was particularly poignant to him personally.

    "When our brilliant creative team, Rachel Kelly and Taylor Garrett, first showed this idea, I immediately fell in love with it. Not only is it a perfect expression of Barbie's purpose of helping girls imagine all their possibilities, I could see myself in it," he says. "I grew up with four brothers, no sisters, so I never had Barbie in the house. Despite that, now that I have a 3-year-old daughter, I often find myself on the floor with her, Barbie in hand."

    Miller adds: "Those are truly amazing moments where I get see her imagination in action. One day we're doctors, the next we're sisters, the next we're fighting off ninjas. This body of work celebrates the incredible moments that every dad can have with his daughter if he's just willing to pick up a Barbie."

    The campaign is a new articulation of the ongoing "You Can Be Anything" positioning, which has included the famous "Imagine the Possibilities" spot from late 2015, which showed little girls acting as teachers and doctors and businesswomen in real-world environments.

    In press materials for the dad spots, Barbie cites research by Dr. Linda Nielsen of Wake Forest University showing that girls who have loving, communicative, supportive relationships with their fathers from early childhood are less likely to suffer from a lack of self-confidence and self-reliance as they grow up.

    "We think it's important to shine a spotlight on all of the role models in a young girl's life that help to build self-worth and self-confidence, including men," Duncan says.

    This integrated campaign will include TV, cinema, digital and print advertising. Partnerships with Social Native, Tongal and Time Inc. will further promote #DadsWhoPlayBarbie.

    Father-daughter story lines have been popular in other advertising airing during NFL telecasts over the past few years—in particular, the memorable Pantene campaign from last winter in which NFL stars styled their girls' hair.

    Client: Barbie
    SVP, Global General Manager: Lisa McKnight
    VP, Global Marketing Communications: Kristina Duncan
    Global Marketing Communications Director: Liz Maglione
    Global Marketing Communications Manager: Nicole Leeds
    Agency: BBDO San Francisco

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    When you're hacking away at unsightly ear hair, the last thing you want is for the battery in your trimmer to conk out. That would leave you with bushy lobes and broken dreams.

    You'd prefer those tiny blades to cut fast and true, the reassuring buzz of your AA-battery-powered device ringing like sweet music in your progressively less-hairy ear. Now you're ready to take on the big, bad world. See you in hell, unsightly ear hair!

    Wieden + Kennedy New York brings this shaggy scenario to life in the ad below, part of its new "Trust Is Power" campaign for Duracell:

    Yeah, try plucking those suckers out with tweezers. Ouch! (Not that we'd know about this firsthand.)

    "Trust Is Power" represents W+K's first major push for Duracell since it won the business in October. Previously, the brand worked with Anomaly and targeted viewers' heartstrings with grandiose Star Wars tie-ins and a particularly uplifting ad about hearing loss. (A holiday-themed effort from W+K, "Duracell Express," in which the brand delivered free batteries to Midwestern families on Christmas Eve, tried a somewhat lighter tone.)

    While the work goes for full-on comedy, there's a salient point behind the cheeky humor.

    "Trust seems in very short supply today," says Ramon Velutini, Duracell's vp of marketing. "We wanted to come forward and reassert our position as a power that everyone can trust, every day. We're taking a lighthearted look at the real issue of trust, because while you do need trustworthy power when you're climbing K2—the world's second-highest mountain—you also need it for your game controller and your kids' toys."

    "Ear Hair" broke Sunday during the the New England Patriots' triumphant drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game on CBS. (Go Pats!)

    A second spot, "New Mom," casts the C-cell battery as a "soothing cylinder of trust" for young parents:

    MJZ director Steve Ayson, whose penchant for delivering laughs powered Samsung and Old Spice campaigns, does a fine job bringing Duracell's "trust" proposition to life. The ads are fast-paced and fairly amusing, and they make their point without going too far over the (copper) top for their own good.

    Meanwhile, Duracell also created a 147-page catalog (posted on Instagram too,) with battery facts, tips on cooking, camping, gaming and parenting, and self-aware copy lines like "An entire catalog devoted to eight batteries. Are we overdoing it? Yes, we are." Some dude with a battery-powered ham slicer shows up a lot. There's also a house made of 9-volt batteries.

    Now, "Trust" might seem like an overly obvious positioning. But all kidding aside, when you're shaving an ear, or in the midst of any mundane task of personal significance, it's comforting to know your batteries (at least according to these ads) won't let you down.

    "We wanted to move away from Duracell playing a tiny role in a big hyperbolic moment to Duracell playing a huge and trusted part in many small, everyday moments," says W+K creative director Jaclyn Crowley.

    By focusing on the micro, the campaign might pack just enough power to help differentiate the brand in an increasingly tough marketplace.

    Client: Duracell

    —Project Name: Trust is Power TV

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
    Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
    Creative Director: Jaclyn Crowley
    Creative Director: Eric Helin
    Copywriters: Luke Sacherman, Howard Finkelstein
    Art Directors: Kate Placentra, Grant Mason
    Head of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
    Executive Producer: Alison Hill
    Associate Producer: Kweku Taylor-Hayford
    Director of Brand Strategy: Dan Hill
    Strategy Director: Sean Staley
    Brand Strategist: Cristina Pansolini
    Account Team: Mike Welch, Meghan Mullen, Jamie Robinson
    Media Director: David Stopforth
    Comms Planner: Stuart Augustine
    Business Affairs: Michael Moronez, Brit Fryer
    Project Manager: Ava Rant
    Traffic Managers: Sonia Bisono, Andy Hume

    Production Company: MJZ
    Director: Steve Ayson
    President: David Zander
    Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson
    Line Producer: Laurie Boccaccio
    Director of Photography: Evan Prosofsky

    Editorial Company: Mack Cut
    Editor: Gavin Cutler / Nick Divers
    Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
    Cutting Assistant: Pamela Petruski

    VFX Company: THE MILL
    Executive Producer: Verity Grantham
    Producer: La-Râ Hinckeldeyn
    VFX Shoot Supervisor: Tony Robins
    2D Lead Artist: Mikey Smith
    3D Lead Artist: Andres Eguiguren
    3D Artists: Emily Meger, Sean Dooley, Ren Hsien-Hsu, Juan Carlos Brauet

    Telecine Company: CO3
    Colorist: Tom Poole

    Mix Company: Mackenzie Cutler
    Mixer: Sam Shaffer

    —Project Name: Brand Catalog

    Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
    Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
    Creative Director: Jaclyn Crowley
    Creative Director: Eric Helin
    Copywriters: Howard Finkelstein, Katie D'Agostino, Luke Sacherman
    Art Directors: Grant Mason, Grace Martin, Kate Placentra
    Design Director: Justin Flood
    Design Team: Erica Bech, Brian Metcalf, James Hughes, Eden Weingart, Scott Gelber, Braulio Amado, Alis Atwell, Qiong Li, Kurt Woerpel, Chris Kelsch, Alessandro Echevarria
    Head of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
    Integrated Producer: Sabrina Rahrovi
    Art Producers: Deb Rosen, Ali Berk, Pietro Clemente, Yukino Moore
    Head of Creative Services: Chris Whalley
    Print Producer: David Niblick
    Account Team: Mike Welch, Meghan Mullen, Jamie Robinson
    Social Director: Jessica Breslin
    Social Strategist : Liz Lightbody
    Media Director: David Stopforth
    Comms Planner: Stuart Augustine
    Business Affairs: Michael Moronez, Brit Fry
    Project Manager: Ava Rant
    Studio Manager: Jill Kearton
    Retouching: 150 Proof
    Photographer: Kristin Gladney
    Social Videos: Joint

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    The great thing about an artist as prolific as David Bowie is that his work will continue to spawn new creations. He left us with a constellation of intersecting worlds we can live in and reinterpret for generations to come. 

    Naturally, and perhaps because advertising also owes him a debt, creative people will want to do a lot of this spawning themselves.

    For its first window display of 2017, Wieden + Kennedy London created "Space Oddity—a visual deconstruction," a data-driven tribute to Bowie's work marking the one-year anniversary of his death.

    Conceived by designer Valentina D'Efilippo and researcher Miriam Quick, the resulting "Oddityviz" project takes musical data from the 1969 track "Space Oddity" and visualizes it in a set of 10 engraved records, paired with prints and projections that draw from the song's broken interstellar world. Each 12-inch disc deconstructs the song differently—by melody, harmony, lyrics, structure and underlying story. 

    There's something familiar about the kind of love that drives you to dissect something down to its very atoms, the better to know it and to make it part of you. If you've ever been so obsessed with a piece of music that it hurt, this is as much a tribute to that feeling as it is to Bowie. 

    Below is a visualization of waveforms from the eight original master tracks of "Space Oddity." To zoom in on different bits (including the key at the bottom), visit the site, where you can also buy it and its siblings in different formats. 

    In execution, "Oddityviz" resembles a slickly produced "Dear Data," that creative effort by data pros Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec to quantify aspects of their lives, a week at a time, using postcards. 

    Here's a close-up of another disc, which gives you a sense of the artistry involved, and some nice iconography shots: 

    "Bowie was always looking ahead to integrate art and technology," says W+K producer Gen, who curated the project. "With this exhibit, we seek to not only commemorate a great artist but also take inspiration for our own artistic exploration of his work."

    Here are all the discs, spread out to highlight their beauty in a self-consciously casual way:

    The W+K window space also featured a moving image that promised to take viewers on an "immersive journey" through the track. 

    The campaign ran from Jan. 10-23. As mentioned, you can purchase the records and art prints, with all proceeds going to charity. And if you're interested in social chatter about the exhibit or works, follow @Oddityviz on Twitter or scope its hashtag, #oddityviz.

    Having sifted through the latter feed, we found the results as beautifully odd a tribute as "Space Oddity" could ask for in a data-driven age. Nearly all associated images share the project's muted black-and-white aesthetic.

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    Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of death in the Netherlands, taking 20,000 people to the Big Sleep every year. Frustratingly, it's also the most preventable one. 

    But research also shows that smokers know how unhealthy smoking is, and don't particularly care—either because we're addicted, or because nothing ever seems all that scary until a little cough becomes something else, and suddenly your whole life has changed. 

    Stivoro, the country's Foundation for Smoking and Health, wanted to get people up in arms about this, so it worked with Wefilm, last seen on Heineken's HR campaign, to produce "A Deadly Serious Matter."

    In this odd fable, we get to see a tobacco company from the inside, talking openly about the ugly reasons for their success. All of it takes place in the context of a good-bye party for a fond colleague.

    "Every single day, 100 new children became addicted, and that's what we depend upon," a lady whispers intimately as she passes her a gift, followed by kisses. 

    It's totally sociopathic. But in a fun way! 

    It's hard to say whether this ad will yield fewer deaths by tobacco. Quitting a habit is a personal journey, rarely a decision made (and kept) in the heat of a moment. But if you believe in the banality of evil, this is what it looks like—cheesy jokes and camaraderie heightened to a surreal, sinister level by the subject matter. 

    The ad contains all the trappings of a conventional office party—finger food, a boss giving a speech, polite laughter from colleagues. As champagne glasses clink, everyone gamely cheers, "More addicts!" 

    And of course there's the ritual complaining as things begin to die down. 

    "I pour myself a bottle of wine every night in order not to lie awake," one man casually tells a woman.

    "I do not know how to explain to my family that I work here," she answers, shaking his hand.

    "I can't live with myself!" he cries pleasantly as the elevator dings open.

    "Me neither!" she replies, bouyant as all get-out, then heads off.

    Client: Stivoro
    Concept & production: Wefilm
    Director: Beer ten Kate
    Producers: Wibout Warnaar, Bas Welling
    D.O.P.: Thomas Leermakers
    Editor: Daan Wierda
    Post-production: The Ambassadors
    Seeding: First
    PR: Bijl PR
    Responsible from client: Gerrit Jan van Otterloo

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    Let's get one thing clear right off the bat. "Nature Boy" Ric Flair is a national treasure. He's also a human train wreck who lives on the knife-edge of self-parody, but even that is a gift. If Jay Gatsby had lived long enough to become your embarrassing uncle, he'd be Ric Flair.

    I bring this up because Slick Ric plays the stereotype of a pushy, overexcited, cornball used-car salesman in three ads for US Auto Sales. And he's pretty much perfect for the role.

    The setup for all three ads is the same. Ric—excuse me, "Papa Flair"—yells "Wooooo!" a lot and puts customers in wrestling holds, then a voiceover cuts in to explain that US Auto Sales is a much more pleasant alternative.

    Atlanta's Nine Mile Circle produced all three ads, and the attention to detail helps the presentation a lot. Flair's segments mimic low-budget ads for local car dealerships right down to the hazy picture quality and weird color palette, whereas the US Auto stuff looks clean and modern.

    Of the three ads, "To Be the Man," is the best one, because apparently Papa Flair is as antagonistic to his own sales team as he is to the customers. He's also the kind of guy who tucks his suit pants into his cowboy boots.

    Bless his probably cardiomyopathic heart.

    Client: USAuto Sales
    Khalil Thompson, Marketing Director
    Production & Post: Nine Mile Circle, Atlanta
    Les Umberger, Creative Director, Editor, Visual Effects Artist
    Amanda Oldeen, Executive Producer
    Dave Pickett, Colorist
    Kenneth Lovell, Composer, Sound Designer and Audio Engineer

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    Brands everywhere are cringing at the prospect of nasty—or even friendly—tweets coming their way from Donald Trump. But it's incoming press secretary Sean Spicer who's been waging a weird war on an ice cream brand for almost seven years.

    In April 2010, Spicer mysteriously took aim at the Paducah, Ky., company—in particular, its advertising slogan, "The ice cream of the future."

    As the A.V. Club reported this week, it was unclear what provoked Spicer. But the following year, again apparently out of the blue, he repeated his claim. 

    Six weeks after that tweet, Spicer rejoiced at the news that Dippin' Dots had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Continuing his obsession with the brand's slogan, he appeared to improvise his own headline for The Wall Street Journal story he linked to, cleverly calling Dippin' Dots the "ice cream of the past." 

    Four years went by, and it seemed like Spicer was over it. But no—here he is bashing Dippin' Dots again in 2015, apparently due to a shortage of the stuff at a Washington Nationals game. (This tweet, oddly, seems to combine his chronic hatred of the stuff with a weird yearning for it when it isn't around. Or maybe his kids just love it.)

    With Spicer front and center in the news this week, his tweets have finally gotten the attention of Dippin' Dots CEO Scott Fischer, who posted an "open letter" on its website, asking Spicer for a truce.

    Fischer wrote:

    Dear Sean,

    We understand that ice cream is a serious matter. And running out of your favorite flavor can feel like a national emergency! We've seen your tweets and would like to be friends rather than foes. After all, we believe in connecting the dots.

    As you may or may not know, Dippin' Dots are made in Kentucky by hundreds of hard working Americans in the heartland of our great country. As a company, we're doing great. We've enjoyed double-digit growth in sales for the past three years. That means we're creating jobs and opportunities. We hear that's on your agenda too.

    We can even afford to treat the White House and press corps to an ice cream social. What do you say? We'll make sure there's plenty of all your favorite flavors.

    Scott, CEO of Dippin' Dots

    Late Monday night, Spicer replied to the Dippin' Dots tweet. He appears open to mending fences with Dippin' Dots, but only if the brand helps out America's veterans in the process. 

    To which Dippin' Dots replied:

    Is this a trap? More on this strange story as it develops. 


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